Yesterday I stopped breathing at least five times..and managed to recover. Support comes at the most unexpected times from the most unexpected places. I asked for help, resources...and I received it all - in two days. Miraculous and beautiful.
I have had the extreme pleasure and fortune to have been working with five exceptional women passionately involved in parental support in Deafness. Five intelligent women who have been around the block gazillions of times before I even learned to crawl in this environment. I have complained about how frustratingly slow Italy is in responding to requests and how difficult the process has been- note: they have ALWAYS come through in the end- but I've had to sweat so many times. I posed the simple question to the ladies: Has anyone got any material regarding pediatric courses in Newborn Hearing Screening and Deafness? Pauline Walker from the UK gave me the name and an email address of Gwen Carr and she responded in two hours of my request from her cell phone on vacation to tell me she would be returning on Monday and would get back to me on Tuesday. She replied to me again on MONDAY!!!!
*Humble and grateful me*
Leeanne Seaver of Hands & Voices sent an appeal to her contacts (you should have only seen the email she sent) and I received replies two days later from Christine Yoshinaga-Itano, Mary Pat Moeller and Cheryl Johnson. Note: I stopped breathing after every single one of their emails filled with excellent resources and ideas, aside from the fact that they are all leading researchers in the field who I cite when giving presentations. I may have well received emails from Angelina Jolie and George Clooney- SAME EFFECT!
*USA USA USA*
We had a SKYPE conference call with the GPOD women last night, my first one ever and it took me at least three minutes to figure it out: UK, USA, Italy, Australia on the horn. We discussed the survey and while I can't go into the details right now because we are still collecting data, I will say that we have results from over 28 countries worldwide...thank you so much for completing the survey.
I honestly still ask myself how the hell I am a part of all of this and the remarkable thing is that it just keeps getting bigger...all because of our book- the starting point that catapulted me into an arena that has expanded my mind and has given me the opportunity of providing resources to others that were so lacking during our experience with Jordan.
Sharon, one of my guardian angels/devil's advocate:-) who I met through this blog left a comment that I still have not answered. She asked me if I discuss sign language as an option when I meet with these families. My honest response is no, I don't. Not because I don't believe in sign language, but because to propose sign to a family whose child has just been diagnosed as being deaf, I would need to have resources. I had contacted the President of the NAD equivalent- ENS and never received a reply. I certainly can't invent things myself, especially in Italian. While working with these families I listen and offer support based on our experience, many times it's just one phone call where I reassure them. Then, they take it from there and do their own research. I am not adequately armed to arm them.
I met with Dr. Elena Radutzky today, a fascinating woman, about an American Fulbright scholar coming to study in Italy. Dr. Radutzky is just an unbelievably phenomenal woman with a history of experience internationally, and at our meeting she started pulling out names and email addresses of people who are just the contacts I need to supply my missing information. I seriously find it incredible how the right people at the right time step in line in this entire process. The road has been paved and now I must walk it and plant as I go along for the next person who chooses this path. I don't feel like there's a choice, it just is.
I am the most grateful person in the world right now. Aside from the exceptional men I have had the privilege of working with, and I have been working with truly amazing ones, I will say this:
No passion exists like that of a woman. No level of empathy surpasses that demonstrated by a woman. And when you combine the love of many mothers with the passion of many women, you build Rome in a day.